Will Warcraft & Assassin’s Creed Help Launch The Golden Age Of Video Game Movies?
Video game adaptations don’t exactly have the best track record among audiences and critics. There are certain franchises that managed to attract attention but none that would merit ‘blockbuster’ status.
I’m a huge nerd so allow me to take a shot at separating the good video game movies from the bad. I limited my list to live action ‘Hollywood’ adaptations as the animated genre is an entirely different beast.
VIDEO GAME MOVIE HISTORY + NERDY STATISTICS
(I have enough room to include trailers for these films so I’m doing it.)
STREET FIGHTER (1994) 12% RT 99.4M BO
MORTAL KOMBAT (1995) 33% RT 122M BO
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (2010) 36% RT 335.1M BO
SUPER MARIO BROS (1993) 16% RT 20.9M BO
DOUBLE DRAGON (1994) 8% RT 2.3M BO
MORTAL KOMBAT ANNIHILATION (1997) 3% RT 51.3M BO
WING COMMANDER (1999) 10% RT 11.5M BO
LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (2001) 19% RT 274.7M BO
RESIDENT EVIL (2002) 33% RT 102.4M BO
LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: CRADLE OF LIFE (2003) 24% RT 156.5M BO
HOUSE OF THE DEAD (2003) 4% RT 13.8M BO
RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE (2004) 21% RT 129.3M BO
ALONE IN THE DARK (2005) 1% RT 10.4M BO
DOOM (2005) 19% RT 55.9M BO
BLOODRAYNE (2006) 4% RT 3.6M BO
SILENT HILL (2006) 29% RT 97.6M BO
DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE (2006) 34% RT 7.5M BO
POSTAL (2007) 8% RT 0.1M BO
RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION (2007) 22% RT 147.7M BO
HITMAN (2007) 14% RT 100M BO
IN THE NAME OF THE KING (2008) 4% RT 13M BO
MAX PAYNE (2008) 16% RT 85.4M BO
STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI (2009) 6% RT 85.4 BO
RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE (2010 ) 23% RT 296.2M BO
RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION (2012) 31% RT 240.1M BO
SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D (2012) 5% RT 52.3M BO
NEED FOR SPEED (2014) 22% RT 203.2M BO
HITMAN: AGENT 47 (2015) 7% RT 91.9M BO
YOU GET THE IDEA. IT'S BAD
28 “BIG” video game movies have been produced between 1993 and 2015.
19 adaptations failed to produce sequels.
16.5% average score on Rotten Tomatoes.
0 films achieved a score greater than 40%
11 have scores of 10% or less.
11 films grossed more than 100 million at the box office. (5/11 belong to the Resident Evil franchise)
9 films failed to gross more than 25 million with Postal (0.1M) being the lowest.
… As a video game fan, these numbers suck. A few franchises managed to rule the box office along the way but not nearly enough to be considered a trend of any kind. People call it a curse but these movies are awful. The general approach to these movies was awful. Casting, production, visual effects, screenplay… All awful.
For starters, this exists:
So does this:
This scene was kinda cool?
This was definitely not cool:
It’s depressing to think that some of the best franchises have yet to make a splash on the big screen. Video games are notoriously difficult to adapt into successful films but people once thought the superhero movie genre was impossible to crack.
Then in 2000 and 2002, the original X-Men and Spider-Man came along and proved that superhero movies can be taken seriously. Not only that, they could achieve critical and commercial success. Today, GIANT superhero movies are released monthly and dominate pop culture. Thanks to Marvel’s ambition, we now have collections of interconnected films that all exist in the same universe!
The video game movie genre needs an X-Men or a Spider-Man to lead the way. Thanks to films like Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed, 2016 may just be the year that video game movies truly arrive.
A NEW ERA FOR VIDEO GAME MOVIES IS COMING
The sheer ambition behind Warcraft is astounding. We’re finally getting a video game adaptation on the scale of fantasy films like The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Is Azeroth the new Middle Earth? Time will tell but director Duncan Jones has crafted an enormous and detailed world video game fans never thought they would see. The story itself will focus on the first encounter between Humans and Orcs. There will be heroes on both sides amidst massive visual effects driven battles never before seen in video game adaptations.
Legendary Pictures and Atlas Entertainment have placed an awful lot of faith in this project. (It’s about time someone took the risk!) Thankfully, if the first trailer is any indication, they have a brand new movie franchise on their hands.
If Warcraft succeeds, it will kick start a positive trend that could finally launch a golden age for video game movie adaptations.
The first to follow Warcraft? Assassin’s Creed.
Assassin’s Creed may not feature motion captured Orcs with lifelike detail but it does have a central protagonist and a premise that’s worthy of the silver screen.
The film stars Michael Fassbender as Callum Lynch. ‘A descendant of the mysterious secret society the Assassins, must use his deadly skills to battle the powerful Templar organization.’
Fassbender has been on an incredible run the last few years playing Magneto in the X-Men films. In addition to playing Steve Jobs in 2015, Fassbender has also appeared in Prometheus, Inglourious Basterds and more. Beyond his resume, Fassbender is extremely passionate about Assassin’s Creed. You can’t ask for a better leading man in such delicate times for video game movies.
There is always a chance that both movies will fail. Studios who own the movie rights to the biggest video game franchises will immediately put them back on the shelf if they do. But that doesn’t change the fact that, right now, big studios have their eyes on Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed. If Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed make a ton of money worldwide, we may finally see big screen adaptations of video games like: